Texas State Representative Arrested For Barratry

State Representative Ronald Reynolds, the first African American elected in Fort Bend County to the Texas legislature since reconstruction, has been arrested on barratry charges. Once selected as “Freshman of the Year” by his colleagues, Reynolds was arrested and charged with barratry –both in the solicitation of clients on his own and through the office of a local chiropractor.

Reynolds is accused of using a runner to approach a local attorney who was involved in a car accident. Ironically, Reynolds voted for the tough barratry law. Here is the relevant provision:


(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain an economic benefit the person:
(1) knowingly institutes a suit or claim that the person has not been authorized to pursue;
(2) solicits employment, either in person or by telephone, for himself or for another;
(3) pays, gives, or advances or offers to pay, give, or advance to a prospective client money or anything of value to obtain employment as a professional from the prospective client;
(4) pays or gives or offers to pay or give a person money or anything of value to solicit employment;
(5) pays or gives or offers to pay or give a family member of a prospective client money or anything of value to solicit employment; or
(6) accepts or agrees to accept money or anything of value to solicit employment.

It is the classic ambulance chasing allegation, though arrests remain rare. There are signs in the courthouse warning that barratry is a crime. Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in McKinley v. Abbott, 643 F.3d 403 (5th Cir. 2011), addressed the statute. Notably, that case also involved the limitation on using chiropractors of accident victims — a popular avenue for acquiring clients who increasingly go to chiropractors with their injuries. The Court recognized that “[p]ersonal solicitation like that covered by the Barratry Statute is commercial expression protected by the First Amendment. 21 A restriction on commercial expression must survive the intermediate scrutiny articulated by the Supreme Court in Central Hudson.” On the second prong of the test, the Court held:

The record contains ample evidence that the harm caused by solicitation of accident victims by chiropractors within the first 30 days after an accident is real. The state produced testimony from the Director of Enforcement at the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners that the Board had received a large number of complaints from accident victims concerning solicitation activities of chiropractors directly following the victims’ automobile accidents. Additionally, the state introduced anecdotal testimony from accident victims about solicitation directly after an automobile accident and the stress caused by those solicitations. There was also expert testimony about the stress disorder many people suffer for up to a month after a traumatic event, which can lead to cognitive dysfunctions in information processing and decision-making. This is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the harm is real. And, we conclude that a rule prohibiting solicitation for a 30 day period materially alleviates that harm by preventing the harm identified by the state for the amount of time needed.

The Reynolds case is likely to explore similar issues of when contacts cross the line into barratry and to what extent such speech is protected under the first amendment.

Source: ABC

21 thoughts on “Texas State Representative Arrested For Barratry”

  1. Sorry, forgot the punch line for the thread:
    “If you’re gonna be taken to the cleaners, get a goodlooking cab driver.”
    You figure.

  2. There is a nice one in Acapulco, I once visited.
    It’s called La Huerta.
    And is famously recognized among “better” Mexicans. Not for its exclusivity or luxuriousness; but for its ambiance, which the name implies.

  3. There is a cathouse in Amsterdam which is exceptional. People like cab drivers know about it and relate its existence to others. Then there are the crappy cathouses. The ones whom the clients call the “dogs” are advertising with signs in the local newspaper with fake photos. The lame advertise and chumps follow the ads. Get smart America, if you are gonna buy a hooker, get references.

  4. Texas republicans will do whatever it takes to gain another seat.

  5. I am with Mike S. on this one. There is nothing wrong with attorneys advertising, as long as it is done tastefully and professionally. The late night TV ads do go overboard, IMO.

  6. I think this guy has pissed off some people in power. What with my television set full of commercials for attorneys and I doubt Texas is ay different.

  7. Ronald Reynolds,did nothing ]wrong suggesting whoever go to see a U,C,S chiropractor. It is a good thing for whoever to do.Humans are literally walking around with a problem. An acsident makes it worse really fast. Waiting to feel sysmtoms is the last thing whoever should do. http://www.upcspine.com.Atlas Orthogonal is one good technique.However being cheated 3 or so days after the even is best. The body will not immediately respond after an accident. The body after a few days will settle into a knocked out position. The U,C,S can then take X rays like Base Posterior, Nasium, lateral, and A-P open mouth to determine line of drive,and the amount of force to properly make the adjustment. The DC also does that when using the Grostic technique which is like the Light toggle recoil except several movements are applied to the atlas instead of one quick movement.

  8. I found out today from a friend who is suing the municipality why there are so few suits here in Sweden.

    No lawyers will take cases on a percentage of awards, and the state is socking it to the plaintiffs with full court and lawyer costs. Sueing the big guys is not a good idea. They have more money than you. And yards of experience too.

    Has resulted in killing all suits. Nobody except the rich can afford it. The change is only a few years old. But even before, it was not a sueing country.

    Appears USA has a lot of hungry lawyers doing ads.

  9. Talkingdog, I went to fee dispute against an attorney. I found my attorney by going to someone I knew from high school (and who then had a rep for integrity – Sadly I was wrong thinking he had taken it into his adult and professional life.
    At fee dispute they asked me why I did not just hire an attorney who advertises. I told them I was of the old school, lawyers shouldn’t advertise. Only one of the 3 hearing my case, an older man, nodded in agreement. The other 2 seemed to think I was wrong in going to someoone I expected would actually do the work.
    (btw their decision read ‘we give Ms. Levy (not allowed to say amt, but was more then 9999.00 and less then 10,001.00.) and find in favor of the attorney.
    Odd how he lost but he still won.)
    I still believe attorneys and doctors should not advertise. In a way it is its own form of ambulance chasing – especially if you are watching TV late at night. tens of ads for class suits against mostly pharma.)

  10. I once remember a legislator that was arrested for cattle rustling the last day of the legislative session….. It was kind of funny…. If you stop and think about it…..

  11. “…the first African American elected in Fort Bend County to the Texas legislature since reconstruction…”

  12. Or, just slow it down, Frankly. Wisconsin loves tourists. But, you don’t own the road.

  13. I recieved a speeding ticket in the Great State of Wisconsin a long time ago (BTW – avoid the state if possible, particularly if you are not driving a car with WI plates – a lot of very hungry municipalities trying to feed on tourist blood)

    When I got home there was a stack of letters from lawyers in the town of the ticket – several state flat out that if I paid them they know how to make sure the ticket never got on my record, others only hinted it might be possible. I suppose if I had other tickets or a troubled driving past I might have been tempted. But it was not a shining example of the nobility of the legal profession thats for sure.

  14. Well it does not surprise me that the AG is hot to throw Democrats in jail. Abbott refused to cite a GOP legislator who does not even live in the district he represents. The address given is a vacant lot, yet that is OK for GOPers. Then he spent millions of dollars seeking to put a black Democratic lady in jail for mailing in a shut in woman’s absentee ballot.

    From what I read of the statute, it looks like a close call to my untrained eye and minus the facts, I am not persuaded that he has actually committed a crime. The GOP reps have done FAR worse such as taking free cars, etc.. for their personal use and renting condos they own to themselves to collect money from the state during the legislative sessions. All of those crime have not led to any arrests or even ethics complaints.

    As Bob Gammage once said, it took the Democrats almost one hundred years to get as corrupt as the GOP has managed to do in a few decades.

  15. In the 5th Circuit:

    The record contains ample evidence that the harm caused by solicitation of accident victims by chiropractors within the first 30 days after an accident is real … we conclude that a rule prohibiting solicitation for a 30 day period materially alleviates that harm by preventing the harm identified by the state for the amount of time needed.

    Sounds like sufficient time heals all wounds barratry.

  16. Advertising and soliciting clients by mail and otherwise has ruined the legal profession. Folks, if you are seeking an attorney avoid anyone who advertises or solicits. The schmucks with ads on tv and billboards are not the ones getting large jury verdicts for their clients. They are the dreggs of the earth.

  17. Layperson question: so it’s illegal for a lawyer to ask a lawyer friend if he has any job openings? Pathetic or Not Pathetic?

  18. Or maybe this is just another Texas political hit job set up to discredit a democrat by their corrupt criminal justice system.

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